Oct 29, 2003

Labor health teams – a prescription to save Medicare

Labor health teams – a prescription to save Medicare

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 29 October 2003

Labor will establish specialised Medicare teams to restore accessible, high standard health care in areas where bulkbilling is in freefall and hospital emergency departments are at breaking point.

Anthony Albanese MP, Federal Member for Grayndler said up to 100 medical teams consisting of two doctors and a nurse would be available to work in towns and regions where bulkbilling doctors no longer practiced.

“We’re aiming to take the pressure off overworked hospital staff by co-locating our Medicare teams in local hospitals. These teams will operate in the health hotspots that Labor has identified, providing each centre with up to four health teams providing an additional 56,000 additional consultations per year at no cost to patients.

“As well as offering general medical care the teams will run public health programs and services to manage chronic illnesses like diabetes and asthma.”

Mr Albanese said the impact of the Howard Government’s neglect of Medicare was being felt in hospitals throughout Australia – particularly in rural areas.

“In rural areas, where there are no bulkbilling doctors, emergency attendances are 60 per cent higher than in towns where bulk billing doctors operate. In Victoria, 25,000 patients each year seek hospital treatment for conditions that could have been treated by a general practitioner. In NSW it’s 19 per cent.”

“In Grayndler, bulkbilling has fallen by over 4% since John Howard won government. It’s harder and harder to find a bulkbilling doctor and out of pocket medical expenses are skyrocketing.”